13 Reasons To Do the Right Thing When No One Is Looking

Doing the right thing is a good thing, but it becomes great when no one is looking.

In today’s world of personal branding and social media, “doing good” has become a marketing tool.

We’ve gotten to a point where influencers claim to raise money for causes and pocket the proceeds or build inauthentic personalities around what they think people want to see and hear.

You may think: phoniness is a harmless affectation — a facade. Who cares if people fake their motivations? Good is being done, and that’s all that matters.

But phoniness breeds anxiety, which ultimately impacts your mental health.

When we only do the right thing for other people’s approval, it has the power to make us miserable.

Let’s look at why creating a personal kindness habit is the right thing to do — for you and the world.

Heck, it could significantly improve your life!

Some points have a spiritual bend, and some don’t.

Take what works for you and leave the rest.

13 Reasons To Do the Right Thing When No One Is Looking

Do you only do good things, so people see you as “a good person”? If so, does that make you a genuinely good person? Does performative kindness have value, or does it sow resentment in yourself and other people?

Situations vary, so a definitive answer eludes all of us. But there’s no denying that doing the right thing when no one is looking has the power to cleanse your conscience, improve your mood, and enhance your life.

man drinking coffee with homeless do the right thing when no one is looking

Let’s explore 13 benefits of doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.

1. Fosters Personal Integrity

Humans are full of hubris; we’re just wired that way. As a result, people tend to impose their opinions on others. Furthermore, thanks to our deceptive brains, everyone thinks their viewpoints are correct when in reality, we’re all just stammering around in duplicitous, distorted bubbles of our own making.

So what constitutes “right”? It’s an impossible question to answer. The only way to get through life is to establish your own rules and stick to them. A few universal parameters exist; most people agree that unnecessary violence, abuse, and animosity due to race, sexuality, or gender fall into the “never good” category.

But for the rest of it, defining and sticking to your standards — regardless of who’s watching — defines your integrity. It’s an invaluable tool when navigating life’s complexities.

2. Contributes to the Greater Good

Humans are a social species, and when we contribute to the collective good, it warms us on the inside and makes us feel more connected. So give yourself that boost of belonging by doing something good. Nobody has to know.

3. Makes Us Feel Good

Studies suggest that giving our time, money, or attention to other people triggers the release of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which are all beneficial, feel-good chemicals naturally produced by the body. The best part is that it happens regardless of anyone else’s presence — or lack thereof.

4. Helps Other People

Do you appreciate it when other people help you? Then why not return the favor!? The satisfaction of lending a hand has the power to make a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” into a wonderful one.

5. Improves Your Physical Health

As we mentioned above, being kind to other people compels your body to release chemicals that make you feel happy, content, and connected. It’s good for your mental health, but it also confers physical benefits, like lower blood pressure and decreased stress.

6. Increases Your Self-Esteem

Outside forces can influence our thinking, but you’re the only person controlling your self-esteem. 

woman helping elderly woman do the right thing when no one is looking

One way to build it up is by letting kindness, forgiveness, and humility guide your way. Doing so almost always leads to quality decision-making. And when we choose well, we feel great; when we feel great, our self-esteem flourishes.

7. Leads to Self-Honesty and Genuine Intentions

There’s an argument that doing good for the wrong reasons has a positive net benefit. Nevertheless, it just doesn’t sit right. For starters, it’s the type of thing that other people can pick up on and ridicule. Plus, an individual’s true intentions have a way of bubbling to the surface. And when the reality doesn’t match the performance, there’s often a social price to pay.

8. Saves and Makes You Money

Yes! Privately doing the right thing helps your wallet. How? Being kind is good for mental and physical health, plus it’s a self-esteem boost.

When you’re firing on all cylinders, you’re more likely to make better decisions and less likely to fill a sad void by purchasing unnecessary stuff.

It may sound like a stretch, but research shows that people with high self-worth make more money. 

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9. Improves Your Mental Health

Personal integrity is the foundation of good mental health, and doing the right thing without other people watching or knowing is the height of integrity. When you understand yourself, and like the person you’ve become, the outer stratosphere is the limit.

10. Satisfies The Karmic Golden Rule

The Golden Rule advises people to “do unto others as you’d have done to yourself.” The Karmic Rule posits that our actions catch up with us, and we reap what we sow. If you believe in these concepts, then doing the right thing when no one is watching makes the most sense.

11. Reinforces Ethical Choices

With every decision that lands in your lap, you have two options: you can do the wrong thing or the right thing.

But what do you gain when you choose the latter?

man planting tree do the right thing when no one is looking

Sure, it may feel good for a moment, but if you’re a decent person with any semblance of a conscience, you’ll eventually start to feel bad about being petty or wrong-footed. So just do the right thing and save yourself the mental anguish down the road.

12. Improves Your Odds

When you do something good, you never know when someone will return the favor. And when people like and respect you, they’re more likely to lend you a helping hand in times of need.

These results shouldn’t be your primary motivator, but it’s nice to know that one good turn often inspires another. 

13. Makes the World a Better Place

Do you want to live in a decent world? If so, help make it that way by being a good person. It doesn’t mean forcing your belief system on other people, but it does require being kind and respectful to one another. 

No rule says you can’t support causes you believe in while being courteous to folks who disagree.

How To Do the Right Thing Even When No One Is Watching

Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody’s watching. But how do you accomplish that? Sometimes, it can be challenging because doing the wrong thing may benefit you. If temptation arises, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I feel good about myself if I do the wrong thing?
  • What would [insert the name of someone you respect] do?
  • How would my parents feel if they knew I opted to do the wrong thing?
  • Will doing the wrong thing weigh on my conscience? Is it worth it?
  • Will choosing poorly leave a karmic or spiritual ding on my proverbial record?

Life is complex, and everybody is trying to get by the best they can at the end of the day. Setting guiding principles for yourself and sticking to them makes the journey much easier.            

Being kind is what the world needs. Here are some more reasons to do the right thing when no one is looking.

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